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CNN RIGHT NOW
World Health Organization Says, Coronavirus Officially A Pandemic; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Presidential Candidate Speaks After Biden's Big Super Tuesday Wins. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired March 11, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: In the meantime, the latest on the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic just moments ago. Here is what we're seeing in the U.S. right now, a dramatic rise in a number of cases in just a week-and-a-half. There were 71 cases at the beginning of March. Now, we are up over a thousand cases and climbing.
There are cases in 39 states. 18 have declared states of emergency, and that includes Washington State and New York, where both are experiencing large clusters of cases.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. How much worse we'll get will depend on our ability to do two things, to contain the influx in people who are infected coming from the outside and the ability to contain and mitigate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's go live to Bernie Sanders.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And he must be defeated. Tragically, we have a president today who is a pathological liar and who is running a corrupt administration. He clearly does not understand the Constitution of the United States and thinks that he is a president who is above the law. In my view, he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot, and he must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen.
Last night, obviously, was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view. We lost in the largest state up for grabs yesterday, the State of Michigan. We lost in Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho. On the other hand, we won in North Dakota and we lead the vote count in the State of Washington, the second largest state contested yesterday, with 67 percent of the votes having been counted. We are a few thousand votes on top.
What became even more apparent yesterday is that while we are currently losing the delegate count, approximately 800 delegates for Joe Biden and 660 for us, we are strongly winning in two enormously important areas which will determine the future of our country.
Poll after poll, including exit polls, show that a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda. The American people are deeply concerned about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country, and the American people want the wealthy and large, profitable corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes, overwhelming support for that.
The American people understand that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage. They want to raise the minimum wage in this country to a living wage of at least $15 an hour. And the American people understand that if our kids are going to make it into the middle class of this country, we must make public colleges and universities and trade schools tuition-free.
The American people understand that we cannot continue a cruel and dysfunctional healthcare system. And it is amazing to me to see that even in conservative states like Mississippi, there is an overwhelming understanding that we are now spending twice as much per capita on healthcare as do the people of any other country, while 87 million of us remain uninsured or underinsured.
And this crisis, this absurd healthcare system, is becoming more and more obvious to the American people as we face the challenge of a coronavirus pandemic that we are currently experiencing. Imagine facing a pandemic and having 87 million people who are having a difficult time going to a doctor when they need.
And the American people know, unlike Donald Trump, that climate change is an existential threat to our country and the planet and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
And the American people also know that we need fundamental transformation of a broken and racist criminal justice system as well as a cruel immigration system that keeps millions of people living in fear.
But it is not just the ideological debate that our progressive movement is winning. We are winning the generational debate. While Joe Biden continues to do very well with older Americans, especially those people over 65, our campaign continues to win the vast majority of the votes of younger people. And I am talking about people not just in their 20s, but in their 30s and their 40s. The younger generations of this country continue in very strong numbers to support our campaign.
Today, I say to the Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country, and you must speak to the issues of concern to them. You cannot simply be satisfied by winning the votes of people who are older.
While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability. I cannot tell you how many people our campaign has spoken to who have said, and I quote, I like what your campaign stands for. I agree with what your campaign stands for. But I'm going to vote for Joe Biden because I think Joe is the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump. End of quote. We have heard that statement all over this country. Needless to say, I strongly disagree with that assertion, but that is what millions of Democrats and independents today believe.
On Sunday, I very much look forward to the debate in Arizona with my friend, Joe Biden. And let me be very frank as to the questions that I will be asking Joe. Joe, what are you going to do for the 500,000 people who will go bankrupt in our country because of medically- related debt? And what are you going to do for the working people of this country and small businesspeople who are paying on average 20 percent of their incomes for healthcare?
Joe, what are you going to do to end the absurdity of the United States of America being the only major country on earth where healthcare is not a human right? Are you really going to veto a Medicare-for-all bill, if it is passed in Congress?
Joe, how are you going to respond to the scientists who tell us we have seven or eight years remaining to transform our energy system before irreparable harm takes place to this planet because of the ravages of climate change?
Joe, at a time when most young people need a higher education to make it into the middle class, what are you going to do to make sure that all of our people can go to college or trade school regardless of their income? And what are you going to do about the millions of people who are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt?
Joe, at a time when we have more people in jail than communist China, a nation four times our size, what are you going to do to end mass incarceration and a racist criminal justice system? And what are you going to do to end the terror that millions of undocumented people experience right now because of our broken and inhumane immigration system?
Joe, what are you going to do about the fact that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth and are living with the fact that 500,000 people tonight are homeless and 18 million families are spending half of their income to put a roof over their heads?
Joe, importantly, what are you going to do to end the absurdity of billionaires buying elections and the three wealthiest people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of our people?
So, let me conclude the way I began. Donald Trump must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen.
On Sunday night, in the first one-on-one debate of this campaign, the American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that goal. Thank you all very much.
KEILAR: All right, that was a very, really extraordinary appearance by Senator Bernie Sanders, making it clear that he is still in the race for the Democratic nomination.
I want to bring in Abby Philip, David Chalian and Dana Bash to talk about this. He's still in the race, and yet, he says he understands so many people think Joe Biden is the one who can beat Donald Trump. He says, I'm still going to show up to this debate and let Americans decide who basically would be a better candidate to do this, but he seems to also be saying he sees the writing on the wall.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very much so. I mean, if there were a pop-up video screen on that, it would say, I'm still in this race to keep my issues alive, to hold Joe Biden's feet to the fire, but I don't think I'm going to get the nomination. And the telltale line from that, aside from the overall tone, was him admitting that voter after voter has told his campaign, we like what you stand for, but we're going to vote for Joe Biden anyway.
What we're hearing --
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He said, millions of Democrats across the country are coming to that assessment. I've never seen such a frank assessment from a losing candidate.
BASH: No, that was remarkable.
BASH: That was remarkable. Well, from a losing candidate who didn't say afterwards, and therefore --
BASH: And therefore, I am dropping out of this race or I am suspending my campaign.
But, you know, the other thing that's really important to keep in mind here, and we were talking about this as we were listening, is that he is not new to this. Four years ago, he left after a very, very, very brutal battle with Hillary Clinton, and so many of his supporters stayed home and they didn't come along. He is giving Joe Biden and his campaign the opportunity to bring his movement along with him, which is a huge thing.
The fact that he's just not storming off and saying, I'm done with this, but saying, let's do this, please help me help you, Joe Biden, is really noteworthy.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What I have gathered from talking to people around him is that he's trying to balance two really important things. He knows that he has this massive movement behind him of people who really want him to stay in this race, people very close to him in the campaign who do not want this campaign to end, even where he is right now.
But at the same time, you know, people close to him say he absolutely hates Donald Trump. There's a reason he started that press conference talking about Donald Trump. He cannot stomach the idea of doing anything that would cause Donald Trump to be re-elected.
And so, with those two things in mind, I think what he is trying to do is really try to continue to push Joe Biden to not ignore his people. And to not ignore them, not by simply saying, hey, come on over, but by saying, I hear you on these ideas and on these demands that you have about how this country ought to operate, and here's how I'm going to address it. We'll see how that goes.
But I thought it was very notable. And I'm saying this based on talking to sources, my friend, Joe Biden. He always says that. He does not want to go negative on Biden. And I think he's going to raise these issues in a policy-focused way. And even though you're seeing a lot of other stuff happening on the internet, Bernie Sanders is going to talk about --
CHALIAN: But on the policy, Abby, what is amazing is, even on his normal litany of negative policy contrasts with Biden, that was gone here. There was no, Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War. There was no, Joe Biden and those terrible trade deals. There was no, Joe Biden on the Senate floor trying to slash social security. These things that we have seen Bernie Sanders, policy issues, that was gone. And I thought that was really notable.
He was no longer a candidate trying to defeat Joe Biden. He was a candidate staying in this race, trying to hold Joe Biden accountable to his army of supporters, which Joe Biden and his team clearly know they need in the fold to actually accomplish the mission of defeating Donald Trump. It's a total different candidacy than we had seen from Bernie Sanders to date.
Ryan Nobles is in Burlington, Vermont. He was there for this. It wasn't really an announcement, Ryan, but it was certainly a very interesting and, I thought, illuminating appearance by Senator Sanders. And to David's point, he was saying that he's going -- look, there's this debate on Sunday, and Bernie Sanders is saying that he's going to be there and he's going to be asking a number of questions of Joe Biden.
He's going to be asking him how he is going to deal with the fact that healthcare isn't something that everyone universally have or is entitled to. And he's going to be asking about childhood poverty. It was just a very significant way of his describing his role in this now.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was really interesting on many levels, Brianna. You know, the one word that we heard Bernie Sanders use here today, which is something I've never heard in the more than year that I've been covering him, is the word, losing. You know, he admitted that they are losing on a number of fronts, you know, that they're losing the delegate count, that they are behind in some of these important areas that would require you to win the Democratic nomination.
But then he turned it around and said, but there are some areas that we're winning on. And I do think that that's an important point to make. When you look at these exit polls, you know, all of these issues that Bernie Sanders has been championing since he got into politics, and especially in his campaign back in 2016, voters in the exit polls are telling us they support. Almost every one of these states where he lost by significant margins on Tuesday night said that they -- the voters that cast ballots overwhelmingly support Medicare-for-all, for instance.
So I think what he is trying to show Joe Biden here is that his coalition is going to be required in order for him to beat Donald Trump, but also his coalition can inject enthusiasm into a Joe Biden campaign and can help, you know, make the argument that Biden can be a better candidate than Donald Trump.
But he also is sending a clear message to Biden that his group of supporters aren't quite there yet. I mean, we saw Joe Biden be very skeptical of Medicare-for-all as recently as this week, and that is really the backbone of the Sanders campaign and Sanders' group of supporters.
So you know, I do think the next week or so and the way that Bernie Sanders handled this is going to be very interesting. I do know that within his campaign, they are concerned about the durability of Joe Biden over the long term. You know, is he able to sustain a campaign, particularly one against Donald Trump where he's going to throw everything at him.
And Bernie Sanders firmly believes, as he showed us four years ago, that he believes long slogs in Democratic primaries, where you really get all of these issues out on the table, strengthen the Democratic nominee, they don't necessarily hurt the Democratic nominee.
So even though I do think that his language has softened against Joe Biden, I think what we learned here today is that they are not giving up this fight yet. You know, they do believe in a fulsome way that the Democratic nominee has got to be strong coming out of this primary.
And I don't think they've given up completely on the idea that Bernie Sanders could be that nominee. They just believe that, to a certain extent, they've got to at least tether Joe Biden to these progressive issues that they believe will be a big part of the winning formula to winning and beating Donald Trump in November. Brianna?
KEILAR: Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
David Chalian, I almost heard you audibly make a noise as Ryan was describing the calculus.
CHALIAN: I have no doubt. Obviously, he came to say that he's staying in the race. But what he -- what I interpreted his statement to be is, this is the first step of his departure from the race. That's actually what I thought was somebody who was staying in the race.
But because he focused on the message that he is going to require Joe Biden -- and I don't mean require in a trade deal, but I mean, public pressure put on Joe Biden to bring this into his fold, to talk more about the universal access to healthcare as a right in a totally -- in one of the obviously most wealthy nations in the world.
What I do think though is he puts so much focus on the debate on Sunday and this opportunity of a one-on-one matchup, and for the American people to see these different visions. Well, if you're giving a statement like he gave today and you put everything on this debate on Sunday, and the results on Tuesday in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona look like the last two Tuesdays, what more are you going to have to say?
So I saw this as the beginning of a different part of this process.
BASH: He's at the top of the exit ramp. I mean, he's at the top of the exit ramp. And he just wants to make sure that the parade of people who are following him follow him off that exit ramp.
KEILAR: That's right. And we will keep watching, because, I mean, this was an extraordinary moment, I thought, especially having covered 2016 four years ago. This really stood in contrast.
Thank you all so much.
BASH: Thanks, Bri.
KEILAR: And you can watch Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden go head to head this Sunday. The CNN Univision Democratic Presidential Debate airs Sunday, that is at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
And more now on the coronavirus outbreak. The World Health Organization just warned, it is seeing alarming levels of inaction in response to this pandemic.
Plus, Washington State banning large gatherings of 250 people or more.
And new details on the containment zone in New York where the, quote, largest cluster remains, and the National Guard is deployed.
This is CNN special live coverage.
KEILAR: Back now to our breaking news. The World Health Organization officially declaring the coronavirus a pandemic. CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard is joining us now. And just tell us, Jacqueline, what is in a word and why is this now being called a pandemic?
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, this was a major announcement made by the World Health Organization, and they made it clear that they did not make this announcement lightly. And it's coming at a time when we're seeing more cases spread across more countries.
In the past two weeks, the number of affected countries has tripled. And that really is what seems to have led to the World Health Organization's declaration of a pandemic here.
But, again, they said they did not make this announcement lightly. And the word pandemic is not meant to cause fear. And more on that, we should hear from the World Health Organization director general. Here is how he made the announcement earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL: Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It's a word that if misused can cause unreasonable fear or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD: And so, Brianna, that's, you know, what he said. And just to explain what a pandemic is, it typically hits three criteria. I'll go over that real quick. It's typically a pathogen that causes illness or disease, which the coronavirus is. It's seemed to have sustained person-to-person transmission, so it spreads quickly. And then it hits the world. It hits several countries. And we've seen this outbreak hit all continents, except for Antarctica. So that's why, you know, this can be called a pandemic.
KEILAR: All right, Jacqueline, thank you so much, Jacqueline Howard.
Now, New York is also taking drastic measures to stop the community spread of coronavirus. They have set up a containment area in the City of New Rochelle, just outside of New York City, in an effort to prevent further exposure.
Our Brynn Gingras, is in New Rochelle. And, Brynn, Governor Andrew Cuomo is actually deploying the National Guard to help there. Tell us about this.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, And we're expecting to see them tomorrow, Brianna, but we're already seeing the effects of this containment. There are schools that are shut down, places of worship that are closed. There are even some small businesses who aren't getting enough business that say they're voluntarily closing at this point, especially within that containment zone.
And, really, this is all an effort, again, to contain the virus, which the numbers here have just escalated, ever since that second case we learned about from a 50-year-old lawyer from this area of New Rochelle, just a couple of weeks ago. And yes, the National Guard is going to come in. We're learning that they're going to help clean schools, clean public places, also hand out food if people need it who are in quarantine. Remember, about a thousand people are under quarantine just within this town.
So the big thing though officials really want to stress is this is just a containment. This is not a lockdown, like we have been seeing in cities, especially like Italy, for example. It means people can come and go in and out of the zone.
And people we've been talking to here, Brianna, wonder, is that enough? Is that really going to contain this virus? It lasts for two weeks, so we'll have to see. Brianna?
KEILAR: All right, Brynn, thank you so much for that report from New Rochelle. And with more than 1a thousand coronavirus cases in the U.S., doctors are gaining a better understanding of it now. This pandemic is changing the shape of our daily routines, even our daily lives, as we attempt to minimize risks and control the spread of coronavirus. So information is key.
And to help us answer some of your questions and give you that information, we have Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, Dr. Gounder joining me now, Celine Gounder, the host of the Epidemic in American Diagnosis Podcast. And so our first question here, Dr. Gounder is young people who have asthma, are they at a higher risk for coronavirus?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Well, that's one of the areas we're not 100 percent sure. Presumably, if you do have asthma though, that would imply that there are some issues with your airways, that if you do get a viral infection on top of having asthma, that you probably would be at higher risk for complications. And it also depends a bit on, you know, how severe your asthma is and whether you take medications like steroids. Prednisone is a common one people take, which can weaken your immune system.
So those would be the things that I would be wondering about, and it probably does depend on how severe the asthma is.
KEILAR: OK. And then another question. Since the coronavirus can last on a surface for several days, do we disinfect packaging on food products?
GOUNDER: Great question as well. You know, on some level, maybe we should be anyway. You know, if you buy that chicken with salmonella on it or beef with E. Coli on it in the grocery store, we do know that there is sometimes bacteria on the packaging. You know, I think it depends on what the product is, but we haven't so far seen any coronavirus contamination of products like that.
KEILAR: OK. Before I get to the next question, I want to ask you about cruises, because I know a lot of people have vacation coming up here in the near term and also a little farther afield this summer. What would you say to someone who is maybe going on a smaller cruise here in the near term who has a -- we've heard someone say, a cruise line says they're going to screen people on a small cruise here in the near term. But then, what would you say to people who are thinking, wait, am I okay to go ahead with this cruise plan this summer?
GOUNDER: Well, on that one, I have to agree 100 percent with Dr. Fauci.
I personally have never taken a cruise, never plan to take the cruise. They're known to be petri dishes.